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No Impact Week, Day 4 – Wednesday: Food

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Healthy eating can also lessen your foodprint…

By Aran Seaman, Posted Jan 7, 2011

No Impact Week This is the fourth in a series of eight blog articles chronicling my experience participating in the 2011 No Impact Week, a global challenge to lower your carbon footprint as much as possible over eight days, initiated by Colin Beavan’s No Impact Project.


Day 4: Food

Day four in my one week carbon cleanse made me pay better attention to what I was eating, in order to reduce my “foodprint”, or carbon footprint of my food. This challenge was especially difficult, as I live in the Pacific Northwest, and there isn’t a lot growing right now! My goal was to eat as locally and seasonally as possible, so I did a bit of homework before I went grocery shopping.

A Healthy Stew First off, I went online and found out what was in season in my region. The NRDC’s “Eat Local” map was helpful, as was “Eat the Seasons.” I then went to Google and searched for farmers markets in my area, but unfortunately the next one was not for another week. Things are a little slow in January.

I looked for another place to purchase quality seasonal food. I found that the Whole Foods Market (although usually expensive) had some good deals on specific items advertised on their website: kale, carrots, rutabagas, and other root veggies. I combined them with barley and lamb that my brother had hunted a few weeks earlier to make a hearty winter stew that would last the rest of the week. Everything in the stew was from within 50 miles of where I live, making it an incredibly low-impact meal.

Although this meal is very seasonal and local, it’s not vegetarian. In order to cut down on the amount of meat I consume I am constantly trying vegetarian meals in order to find the good ones that taste great, and fill me up. This curried chickpeas with couscous recipe is a great vegetarian meal you can make with your slow cooker:


  • 3 Medium sized carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2.5 teaspoons curry powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry couscous

chickpea curry Just throw everything but the basil and couscous in the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. When it’s done remove a couple cups of the chickpea mix from the cooker and mash it up in a bowl with the basil, adding salt to taste. Put this mix back in the slow cooker and stir everything up. Make the couscous following package instructions and serve with the curry. Garnish with basil leaves to give a nice presentation.


Aran Seaman Meet Aran
“A year after doing the No Impact Experiment the first time, I can see how it changed my life. I was reminded how important community is, and since then I have become much more active in my city and group of friends. I am happier because of it and I find myself compelled to do it again. I can’t recommend a better way to kick off the New Year.”
– Aran is a partner at

Posted in Food and Health Tags , , ,
  • louise taylor

    There is also savings in energy as well as time by cooking meals like you have which will last several days. It may take more time to cook a meal like your beautiful stew, but when you average it out over several days then it really makes sense.

  • Jan

    Home cooked meals can be stretched for several days. This saves time, as well as delivering a healthier and lower cost meal.
    Thank's for including the recipe.

  • Having read this, I now consider our family lucky to live very near our local market. We do not need to drive to buy our food, less impact for us in that aspect of energy.

    We usually cook once for the whole day, but we just so to save on time & gas. Now, I know that cooking for the whole week has its benefits, too.

  • Tim

    As a student I learn to keep expenses as low as possible. Cooking one tasty meal that last for several days helps and it is eco-friendly too. Thanks

  • Jan T

    I share garden space with two neighbors and we also share a freezer for garden produce which we keep through the winter. We prepare individual packets (zip loc) of ingredients such as tomatoes (cut small), peppers and corn, which can be used for quick casseroles during the winter months.

  • Sarah

    I am enjoying these articles about carbon reduction. I wondered though where your brother hunted sheep?

    • Greg Seaman

      He hunted sheep about a mile from home. He set out on foot and hunted with bow and arrow.

Blog > Food and Health > No Impact Week, Day 4 – Wednesday: Food